Friday, November 8, 2013
The Ten Best Things At Universal Studios/Islands of Adventures in Orlando, Florida
Most people consider Universal Studios to be an afterthought to the already planned Disney vacation, the, "We'll stop off there if we have time," amusement park. But ever since I was a child, I always wanted to go to Universal Studios and never wanted to go to Disney World. It just always looked cooler to me. Well, in my adult life, I've since gone to both parks recently, and I must say that while Disney World is an all-around better amusement park, I have to admit that there's a lot at Universal Studios that I actually prefer to Disney. Here are just ten of those things.
10. Twister: Ride It Out (At Universal Studios)
After a comical introduction by Bill Paxton, you get to actually step inside a scenario of what a real twister would look and feel like. Sure, words could express the awesomeness of watching a regular tornado turn into a "flame tornado", but I think footage would be even better, so check out the clip below some guy snagged. I was surprised at how amazing this attraction was, given the age of it. It just goes to show you that practical effects trump CG any day of the week.
9. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (At Universal Studios)
In my review of the 10 best things at Disney World, one major gripe I had was the overall lack of serious roller coasters there. And while Universal Studios is no Six Flags, it definitely has a few seriously great coasters to boast of, with the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit being one of them. I'm not going to lie, it actually gave me a headache afterward, but during the ride, I was having a blast. You get to pick your own choice of dated music to listen to while you ride (I chose "Intergalactic" by The Beastie Boys) so it can be a different experience every time you get on it. It's fun, it's fast, and it's wild. Definitely make sure you go on this ride when you go to Universal Studios. Just make sure you bring some Tylenol with you.
8. The Crawfish Nachos at Pat O' Brien's (At City Walk)
City Walk is pretty much like Downtown Disney but with less families and more couples. There are a lot of restaurants there, but the one my wife and I decided to stop off at was Pat O' Brien's, which serves New Orleans' cuisine, even though it has an Irish name. Go figure. But let's talk about the Crawfish nachos, as they're probably, nay, DEFINITELY, the greatest nachos I've ever had in my entire life. Topped with oozing cheese, smothered in crawfish and dipped in the most heavenly sauce ever conceived of, these nachos are definitely worth your hard-earned dollars. I just wish I could say the same for the rest of their food...
7. Dudley Do-Right's Rip Saw Falls (At Islands of Adventure)
As someone who typically hates water rides (Something about not liking getting wet), I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed this water ride, which I got absolutely drenched on. It's all in the character. In a sense, it's pretty much a rip-off of Splash Mountain, but it's so much better. You actually have many fake dips and turns before you have the ultimate drop of your life, which is enthralling and refreshing at the same time. For a water ride, Dudley Do-Right's Rip Saw Falls is amazing. Make sure you give it a try.
6. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (At Universal Studios)
This amazing 3D "ride" has you behind the eyes of one of the lovable, yellow minions from the Despicable Me series. There's not much really to say besides that it's fun and creative. Your eyes will have a sensory overload with everything going on here. It's one of the best "rides" in the entire theme park.
5. Horror Make-Up Show (At Universal Studios)
Both hilarious and informative, the Horror Make-Up Show is full of practical effects and humor. The hosts were a laugh riot and you really do see some of the ins and outs of how old-school horror flicks really got it done. If you see only one show at Universal Studios, make sure it's this one.
4. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (At Islands of Adventure)
An oldie but a goodie, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man , like Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is another "ride" that isn't really a ride at all in that you basically just sit in a little booth and wear 3D glasses as you're shaken all about in front of a variety of screens. What makes this particular ride so great through is how much you really feel like you're a part of Spider-Man's world. Ol' webhead himself lands on your "car" and takes you out of harm's way as Doc Oc and his minions try to attack you. If you love Spider-Man, then you'll absolutely adore this "ride".
3. Revenge of The Mummy The Ride (At Universal Studios)
I can't believe I'm saying this but Revenge of the Mummy The Ride is one of the greatest coasters I've ever been on and here's why--I wasn't expecting anything from it and got a lot out of it. Now, maybe me talking about it will get your hopes up too much, but when I went on this indoor coaster, I was awestruck by how fantastic it was. There were flames, scarabs coming out of the walls, and enough hairpin turns and drops to make any roller coaster fan swoon. If you love indoor coasters, then you absolutely need to ride this. It's a must.
2. Springfield (At Universal Studios)
Besides having the absolute worst ride in the park, Springfield itself is astonishing with all the detail that was put into it. Moe's is here, Krusty Burger is here, and hell, even The Comic Book Shop Guy's store is here (Though, it's only its exterior, as it's really just a bathroom). It was enough to make this old Simpsons fan want to love the show again. Almost, I said. The show is absolutely terrible now. But this side of the park is to die for. El Barto was here.
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (At Islands of Adventure)
No question about it, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the single best attraction at Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. It's no contest. So much attention to detail was put into this section that it alone is worth the trip to Universal Studios. You can drink butter beer, journey into Hogwarts (And go on an amazing-and creepy-ride), and even, if you're lucky, get selected to pick out your own wand at Ollivanders. Honestly, this specific section of Islands of Adventure is pretty much better than anything I saw at Disney World, and that's saying a lot since I LOVE Disney World. But for all of the Mouse House's magic, it can't match the that found here in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Go to Florida just for this. It's worth it. You'll thank me later.